Featured Speakers Biographies

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, Ph.D.
President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Freeman A. Hrabowski, who has served as president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.

Hrabowski’s research and publications focus on science and math education, with a special emphasis on minority participation and performance. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011) and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the human condition.

UMBC has been recognized as a model for academic innovation and inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, which the past five years has ranked UMBC as the No. 1 “Up and Coming” university in the nation.


Brenda Capobianco, Ed.D.
Interim Director of the Discovery Learning Research Center, Purdue University
Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Co-Director, Science Learning Through Engineering Design (SLED)

Brenda Capobianco is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliated appointment in Women’s Studies at Purdue University. Capobianco is currently serving as interim director of the Discovery Learning Research Center and the co-director for the Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Partnership, a multiyear Math and Science Partnership program at Purdue funded by the National Science Foundation.

She holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, an M.S. in general science from Connecticut Central State University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests include girls’ participation in science and engineering; teachers’ engagement in action research; and science teachers’ integration of the engineering design process to improve science learning. She received Purdue University’s Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 2004 and was recognized as a University Faculty Scholar in 2010.

This year, Capobianco received the inaugural Christian J. Foster Award, named after the former Purdue first gentleman and given to a faculty member who has made transformational contributions to improving STEM teaching and learning in Indiana’s K-12 schools. And she was just named the Outstanding Educator in Science, Technology or Engineering at the annual Women and Hi Tech’s Leading Light Awards. The award honors Indiana’s female leaders in recognition of their achievements in science, education and technology.


Debasish (Deba) Dutta, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

Debasish (Deba) Dutta joined Purdue University in 2014 as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, with a faculty appointment as a professor of mechanical engineering. He came to Purdue after five years as associate provost and dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During 1989-2009, Dutta was a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. He is a scholar in residence at the National Academy of Engineering.

At Illinois, Dutta led efforts in defining standards and setting policies to enable excellence in graduate education, and established offices and improved procedures for external fellowships and postdoctoral affairs. He also served as interim vice chancellor for research; chaired the Board of Directors of Illinois at Singapore PTE, a multimillion-dollar research enterprise in Singapore; and chaired the steering committee for a university-wide reorganization process in an era of declining state appropriations.

During 2004-07, he served at the National Science Foundation as acting director of the Division of Graduate Education, as IGERT program director and as advisor in the Office of Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources. He chaired the Learning and Workforce Development subcommittee during the development of NSF’s Cyberinfrastructure Strategy (Vision for 21st Century Discovery).

At University of Michigan, among other accomplishments, Dutta was the founding director of InterPro, an innovative interdisciplinary academic unit in the College of Engineering that catalyzed new interdisciplinary graduate programs.

Dutta received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1989 and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Adrianna J. Kezar
Professor, Rossier School of Education and Co-Director, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California

Adrianna Kezar is a professor in the Rossier School of Education and co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. She has several years’ administrative experience in higher education as well both in academic and student affairs. Her field of expertise consists of change and leadership in higher education, and her research agenda explores the change process in higher education institutions and the role of leadership in creating change.

Kezar is also a well-known qualitative researcher and has written several texts and articles about ways to improve qualitative research in education. She is well published with 14 books, over 75 journal articles, and over a hundred book chapters and reports. In 2011, she published two new books: Recognizing and Serving Low Income Students (Routledge, 2011) and Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership (Stanford Press, 2011). Other recent previous books include Understanding the New Majority of Non-tenure Track Faculty (Jossey Bass, 2010); Organizing for Collaboration (Jossey Bass, 2009); Rethinking Leadership Practices in a Complex, Multicultural and Global World (Stylus Press, 2009); Rethinking the “L” Word in Higher Education: The Revolution of Research on Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2006); and Higher Education for the Public Good (Jossey Bass, 2005). She has acquired over $5 million dollars in grant funding and has worked on grant-funded projects exceeding $12 million dollars on a variety of projects to fundamentally improve higher education.

Kezar has participated actively in national service, including being on the editorial boards for The Journal of Higher Education, The Journal of College Student Development, Change, and The ERIC Review and serving as a reviewer for 17 journals in and outside higher education. She has played major leadership roles, serving on the AERA-Division J Council and Association for the Study of Higher Education Board, Publication Committee and Dissertation of the Year Committee. Kezar also has served on numerous national boards, including the American Association for Higher Education, Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Peer Review and Knowledge Network, National TRIO Clearinghouse, and the American Council on Education’s CIRP Research Cooperative. She volunteers for several national organizations, including the National Science Foundation, HERS/Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, Project Kaleidoscope, Pathways to College Network and the Kellogg Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good.

Kezar holds a Ph.D. (1996) and M.A. (1992) in higher education administration from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (1989) from the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined the faculty at USC in 2003. Kezar has received national awards for her editorial leadership of the ASHE-ERIC report series from ASHE, for developing a leadership development program for women in higher education from ACE, and for her commitment to service learning from the National Society for Experiential Learning.


Jeff Vredevoogd
Director, Herman Miller Education

As director of Herman Miller Education, Jeff Vredevoogd leads the effort to expand the understanding of evolving learning trends and the impacts on higher education environments.

His specific areas of contribution have included:

  • maintaining a strong focus on researching changes in teaching and learning and how space can support this evolution;
  • developing knowledge and insights to assist higher hducation leadership in shaping new approaches to campus learning spaces;
  • working with clients to develop new approaches to campus learning spaces (including learning space strategy, observation, design criteria and change management); and
  • assessment efforts that have helped leadership understand the impact that space can have on teaching and learning.

With over 30 years of industry experience, Vredevoogd works with higher education leadership to develop spaces that have a positive impact on teaching and learning.


Howard Gobstein
Co-Director of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) and
Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation and STEM Education at the APLU

Howard Gobstein is co-director of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) and executive vice president for research, innovation and STEM education at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). He initiated SMTI and is responsible for university policy efforts and improvements pertaining to research, education and economic development. He also co-directs the affiliated Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership and is responsible for university policy efforts pertaining to research, education and economic development. His past positions include associate
vice president for governmental affairs and director of federal relations at Michigan State University, senior policy analyst in the Office of Science and Technology in the Executive Office of the President, and vice president and senior program officer at the Association of American Universities (AAU).

Gobstein spent the first 11 years of his career designing and leading evaluations of government science programs and policies with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He holds a master’s degree in science, technology and public policy from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary engineering from Purdue University. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and was named a distinguished alumnus of 2010 by the Purdue School of Engineering Education. As executive vice president of APLU, Gobstein works closely with the APLU president and vice-president/chief academic officer, thus ensuring feedback and drawing on their expertise and respective communities of presidents and provosts.


Linda Slakey, Ph.D.
Consultant, AAU, STEM Initiative
Linda Slakey was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1973 and served in various administrative roles during her time there. From 2006-2011, she was director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. At present, she has a consulting practice in Washington D.C., with appointments as senior advisor at both AAU and AAC&U.

Slakey is a graduate of Siena Heights College (B.S. in chemistry), and the University of Michigan (Ph.D. in biochemistry.) She was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1973. She was head of the Department of Biochemistry from 1986-1991 and dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) from 1993-2000. From 2000-2006, she was dean of Commonwealth College, the honors college of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As dean of NSM and of Commonwealth College, she was active in supporting teaching and learning initiatives throughout the university, with particular attention to engaging undergraduate students in research, to faculty development activities that promote the transition from lecturing to more engaged pedagogies, and to the support of research on how students learn.

During her time as director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation, Slakey came to view the challenge of bringing about good pedagogy as national and cultural in scope, and also came to know many of the people working on the agenda. As a consultant, she is focused on bringing about a shift in the culture of undergraduate teaching from one in which lecture is an acceptable norm toward one characterized by personal and institutional expectations of more student-centered teaching practices.


Panel of University Leaders

Ann E. Austin, Ph.D.
Professor of Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education
Michigan State University

Ann E. Austin is a professor of higher, adult and lifelong education at Michigan State University, where she holds the Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair. Her research concerns faculty careers and professional development, teaching and learning in higher education, the academic workplace, organizational change and doctoral education. She is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and was a Fulbright Fellow in South Africa (1998).

Austin also is co-PI of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), funded by the National Science Foundation, and the PI of an NSF-funded ADVANCE PAID grant to study organizational change strategies that support the success of women scholars in STEM fields. Her work is widely published, including Rethinking Faculty Work: Higher Education’s Strategic Imperative (2007) and Educating Integrated Professionals: Theory and Practice on Preparation for the Professoriate (2008), as well as other books, articles, chapters and monographs concerning higher education issues in the United States and in international contexts.

In 2011, Austin wrote a commissioned paper for the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council entitled “Promoting Evidence-Based Change in Undergraduate Science Education.” She has worked with colleagues at the national and institutional levels on higher education issues in a number of countries, including Australia, China, Egypt, Finland, Malaysia, Oman, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.


Jack Friedlander, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Educational Programs
Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, California

Jack Friedlander is the executive vice president of educational programs at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), where he is responsible for the college’s credit and non-credit academic and student support programs and services as well as its Center for Lifelong Learning, a self-supporting enterprise for providing community services offerings. The college has been recognized at the state and national levels for its innovative programs that contribute to the success of its students, including being selected as the co-winner of the prestigious 2012 Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence.

Friedlander has been actively involved in professional organizations and activities at the local, state and national levels. These include serving on the boards for the Santa Barbara City College Foundation and the South Coast Business and Industry Technologies Awards sponsored by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. At the state level, Friedlander is involved in the Chief Instructional Officers Association for the California Community Colleges, the Chief Student Services Officers Association for California Community Colleges, the California Community Colleges Association for Occupational Education Association, the Center for Student Success, the California League for Community College’s Legislative Advisory Committee, the Chancellor’s Office Legislative Advisory Committee, the Statewide Matriculation Advisory Committee, and the advisory committee for the New Directions for Community Colleges quarterly book series published by Jossey-Bass in conjunction with the Eric Clearinghouse for Community Colleges.

Friedlander’s many accomplishments include authoring over 80 published articles, monographs, books and newspaper articles, giving more than 200 presentations at state and national conferences and writing grant proposals that have generated well over $30 million, including ones funded by the National Science Foundation. Along with C. Robert Pace, Friedlander co-authored the Community Colleges Student Experiences Questionnaire, which formed the basis for the development of the Community College Student Engagement Survey, which has been used by numerous community colleges throughout the nation. He also has conducted research studies that have resulted in the development of the methodology used by the California Community College System for tracking the post-college employment and wages for students that participated in career and technologies courses and programs.


Barbara Sawrey, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Education
University of California, San Diego

Barbara Sawrey serves as the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs/dean of undergraduate education (AVCDUE). Working with faculty, the academic senate, the colleges, administration, associated students leadership, and colleagues throughout the campus and UC system, the AVCDUE is a strong voice and advocate for undergraduate education.

Sawrey leads the Council on Undergraduate Education and the Undergraduate Academic Advising Council, and she oversees the Office for Students with Disabilities, the Office of Academic Integrity and Institutional Research. She chairs or serves on a wide variety of other campus and system-wide committees, task forces and work-groups to promote excellence in undergraduate education. In her role as the campus accreditation liaison officer, she is responsible for leading campus-wide reaffirmation of accreditation reviews, initiatives and activities. Sawrey also is a member of the executive vice chancellor’s management team.

She serves on the board of directors of the American Chemical Society, the Gemological Institute of America, the San Diego Foundation and the National Center for Conflict Resolution.


Moisés Wasserman, Ph.D.
Board Member of the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the
Caribbean (IESALC)
Former Rector and Professor Emeritus of the National University of Colombia

Moisés Wasserman is a board member of the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) and former rector and professor emeritus of the National University of Colombia (the largest among Colombian universities). He taught at the university for 33 years.

From 1995-1998, he was general director of the Colombian National Institute of Health, where he was the head of the biochemistry laboratory and a researcher for 15 years. He was president of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences from 2002-2006, and is also a member of the Latin-American Academy of Sciences. For six years, he was a member of ICSU’s (International Council of Science) Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science, and serves in numerous boards of academic Colombian institutions.

Wasserman holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was a post-doctoral fellow at the State University of New York. He has written over 100 indexed scientific publications, most of them on biochemistry and molecular biology of the parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Giardia intestinalis, and more than 90 essays and popular papers on science and society. He writes a bimonthly column on education and science in the newspaper El Tiempo.

Wasserman has been honored with several distinctions, including the Alejandro Angel Escobar National Science Prize of Colombia (1984), the Exceptional Teaching Award from the National University of Colombia (1995), the National Prize for Scientific Merit of the Colombian Association for the Advance of Science (1996) and the Medal for Scientific Merits (2001). He has a doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad de Antioquia (2009) and was elected as one of the 10 outstanding leaders of Colombia (Semana and Leadership Foundation, 2010). He also received the Life Achievement Award of the Colombian Association for Advancement of Science (2012) and was distinguished as a National Emeritus Senior Researcher (Semana, Colciencias, 2014).


Gabriela Weaver, Ph.D.
Conference Chair
Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty
Development and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Gabriela Weaver is associate provost for faculty development and director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development and professor of chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In her role as associate provost and director, Weaver oversees initiatives across the CTFD and represents both the CTFD and the broader university on issues of teaching, learning and faculty development.

Prior to joining UMass Amherst, Weaver served as the Jerry and Rosie Semler Director of the Discovery Learning Research (DLRC) and professor of chemistry and science education at Purdue University. The DLRC was founded in 2004 with a mission to advance STEM education, at all academic levels, through research and innovation. Working in collaboration with partners across all schools and colleges at Purdue, the DLRC managed and is an active participant in approximately 20 externally funded research projects in any given year. Those grants have brought over $118 million in funding to Purdue since 2004.

Among Weaver’s accomplishments at Purdue was envisioning and organizing the first Transforming Education conference, an international meeting on the subject of transforming STEM undergraduate education by applying research-based findings to actual classroom practice. She also led the design of professional development workshops and assessment activities for IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation), an initiative to provide support, faculty development and infrastructure for changing teaching at Purdue to be more student-centered and research-based. In two and a half years, the project engaged approximately 60 faculty members from across the university and resulted in the implementation of revised teaching approaches
in courses impacting almost 13,000 students. Weaver’s other educational redesign efforts have included her research as part of the CASPiE project (Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education), funded by the National Science Foundation. A model for undergraduate chemistry laboratory instruction that engages first- and second-year students in actual scientific research by including them as participants in research projects, CASPiE is a multi-institutional collaboration that has been used as a model of best practice in teaching in a publication by the Board on Science Education of the National Academy of Science.

Prior to Weaver’s appointment to lead the DLRC, she served as the associate head of the Department of Chemistry at Purdue. She also was a member of the faculty at the University of Colorado, Denver, and received her doctorate in chemical physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder.